Why Obama Won’t Say ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’

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The growth of the Islamic State, the vacuums of the Arab Spring, and even the attacks on September 11th, 2001, have all added to the debate over the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism’. There are those on the right, President-elect Trump especially, who have suggested that the inability of leaders, President Obama for example, to use this phrase to identify terrorists is unacceptable, and it demonstrates their lack of awareness of the real problems surrounding anti-terror efforts.

Political Correctness?

But has President-elect Trump or anyone in the Republican Party thought about possible reasons for why the President refuses to use this tagline? They say the reason is due to the growth in political correctness in the United States, something we here at Tuesday also agree is wrong and counter-productive, especially on college campuses. However, maybe President-elect Trump is not taking into account other possible reasons that President Obama does not use that description.

Public Diplomacy

In the eyes of the President, this term is not only wrong; but it is also counterproductive. If a Muslim American in the Middle East, or an Islamic government in the region, or even an American Muslim heard the President use this to describe extremists, the likelihood that those individuals would be willing to assist the United States government would drop dramatically.

The majority of Muslims do not see themselves as lumped with extremists who commit mass murders and human right abuses. The majority of the victims of those crimes are, in fact, Muslims. So when the President uses other words and phrases to describe these criminals and radicals, it is not due to a fear of being criticized for being politically incorrect. In fact, it is a calculated phrasing designed not to alienate Muslims who can cooperate with the United States. At the same time, the President shines a positive light on the United States to prevent more young men and children from being radicalized as well since war against the West and the United States is a great selling point for some radicals.

Final Thoughts

When President-elect Trump says there is a problem with radical Islamic terrorism, he is playing into the hands of the extremists by giving them validation and evidence that the United States is an enemy of Islam and Muslims everywhere. President Obama is not worried about public opinion; he is calculating the best way the United States can gain cooperation from foreign and domestic followers of Islam to combat radical extremists. Hopefully, Republicans will begin to realize that.


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